Cate School - Review #19

Read more details about Cate School on their 2024 profile page.
Cate School

About the Author:

Years Attended Boarding School:
Sports and Activities:
Varsity Squash, Varsity Tennis, Camerata (Vocal Music), BSU (Black Student Union), Cate Review (Literary Magazine), JSA (Debate Club), Jazz Band, Community Service
College Enrolled:
University of Pennsylvania
Home Town, State:
Danville, CA, CA

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Cate is a unique place because it focuses so much on the idea of the community. Because Cate is such a small school, students are constantly interacting with the faculty and it is easy to build relationships with both teachers and other students. Another aspect of Cate that distinguishes it is the importance of service. The school motto is "servons" and I think the idea that everyone has the responsibility to give back to the school in some way is prevalent.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Cate was truly an awakening for me as it is for most alumni. The bonds you form there with fellow classmates will generally last a long time. It is the one time when you get to try new things and explore intellectually. It is a place where you will be challenged physically, spiritually, emotionally, and academically. I left Cate with a sense of confidence yet simultaneously with nostalgia. It is difficult to put the Cate experience into words because it is so remarkable in disparate ways. I encourage anyone interested in the school to visit the campus because there is a powerful spirit that exists there which just can not be found at similar schools.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I think I would have reached out to my fellow classmates more and get to known more people. I think I focused much more on studying and academics than I should have. It would have been great to branch out more because the student body is truly an incredible group of people. Also, there are many choices for outdoor fanatics as well, and every year there are hiking trips, canoing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. I probably should have been more involved in the outdoor program because it is an integral part of the Cate experience that I was not very involved in.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The people are very open and there is considerable diversity as well ethnically, religiously, socioeconomically, and geographically. The fact that you are surrounded by so many different types of people with such variegated interests makes the Cate experience what it is.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
I would suggest that you come to Cate with goals. It is easy to just get lost in the mix and forget why you are there is the first place and I think it would be a good idea to have some sort of aspirations, whether it be to become a prefect or delve into everything that you were once only curious about.Places to go: the beach, Blender's in Santa Barbara for a smoothie, seafood at Sushi Terri's in Carpinteria, and Mexican food at Taco Grande.


1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The academics at Cate are very strong. The teachers really care about students doing well and the classroom environment is vibrant and welcoming. Every student has the liberty to express his or her opinion in class or ask a question if he or she does not understand something. Because class sizes are small, it is difficult to avoid getting involved in classroom discussions. The workload that students have depends on the individual students ambitions. Cate offers AP courses in almost every area of traditional study in addition to a strong music, theater, and fine arts program. Every student has the opportunity to grow intellectually at Cate in a way that I do not know a student can at other similar schools. The curriculum more than prepares you for college. The environment of the school in general tends to be one of collaboration as opposed to competition.


1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I played two varsity sports since freshmen year. The athletic program at Cate is serious, but it is not impossible to make the team like at other schools. Those who may play JV at larger schools have the ability to play varsity level sports earlier at Cate. I think the athletic program at Cate is more about building relationships with your teammates and learning the importance of what you can do as group when everyone is working together. Even in more individualized sports, there isn't the same stress and pressure to win championships. It's more about being active, getting exercise, and having fun.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was involved mostly in the music program, though everyone takes foundation arts freshmen year, which is a course which allows you to explore the visual arts, music, and theater programs in your first year at Cate. I participated in Camerata (the advanced vocal music course), Musicianship (which is essentially a composition and music history course), and was also the percussionist in the Jazz Band. The faculty in the music department at Cate are talented and knowledgeable, and they really push you to be the best you can be in music. I became a better musician while at Cate and it is due to not only my teachers but the quality of my peer musicians.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I tutored locally in Carpinteria and the Boys and Girls Club, Carpinteria Middle School, and at Girls Inc., which was a humbling experience and gave me the chance to actually make a difference in the lives of children on a day to day basis. I was also involved in the Black Student Union, which is a support network open to the entire community, providing educational and recreational culturally activities. I was a part of the Cate Review, which is a literary magazine which is published annually. I also participated in the Debate Club (Junior Statesmen of America) at Cate. Extracurricular activities are great because you learn from them sometimes more than you do your classes and it is a good way to meet new people and follow your passions. If a club does not already exist, it is easy to start one. It provides balance to the sometimes stressful Cate academic environment.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Dorm life is one of the best parts of life at Cate. The overwhelming majority of students are boarders and it is the best place to build friendships. The dorm faculty open their homes to students all the time to talk or just hang out and watch TV. Your dorm really becomes your home away from home and there are activities and events which make life there exciting. At the same time, there is study hours every night of the school week and it is usually a quiet place to get work done.


1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is the place where I remember having the most memorable discussions at Cate. Two nights a week there is sit-down dinner - one formal and the other casual, with assigned seating. It is a chance to interact with faculty and other students that you generally do not, and the food is in most cases surprisingly good. There is a salad bar, sandwich bar, usually two different soups, and great hot items as well. There is also a beautiful panoramic view of the ocean from the dining hall, which is great.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
One of the reasons many people choose Cate instead of some of its competitors on the east coast is due to its location just outside Santa Barbara. It is literally a few minutes from the beach and is truly a surfer's paradise. The weather is unbeatable - it is generally about 72 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze. The school sits atop a mesa with views of the ocean and Santa Barbara county in many areas of campus. It's easy to travel into State Street (downtown Santa Barbara) on weekends and in Carpinteria, where the school is located, there is a grocery store, Starbucks, and other cheap places to eat or get necessary goods. The campus is gorgeous and the general laid-back California culture is not for certainly not for everybody, but it makes the truly rigorous academic program a little more palatable.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life at Cate is like most other schools. The activities committee offers a lot of options that keep life interesting and entertaining, and there are dances, coffee houses (with student performances), and movies shown in the theater. The student body is very supportive of one another and there is a pervasive energy at Cate that is contagious.

Daily Schedule:

7:00 AM
Wake-up, get ready for school
7:30 AM
8:00 AM
AP French Literature
9:00 AM
AP English 12
10:00 AM
Assembly, advisor meeting, free period
11:00 AM
12:00 AM
AP Statistics
1:00 PM
AP Environmental Science
2:00 PM
AP U.S. History
3:00 PM
Sports, activities
10:00 AM
Wake -up
11:00 AM
1:00 PM
Go into Santa Barbara
2:00 PM
Go to the movies with friends, grab lunch
3:00 PM
Go shopping, go to the beach
5:00 PM
Dinner at Cate
6:00 PM
Hanging out with friends
8:00 PM
11:00 PM
Read more details about Cate School on their 2024 profile page.

Alumni Reviews Review School

Cate School Alumni #1
Class of 2016
5.00 2/23/2021
Occidental College
Cate is a smaller boarding school and has a very much community bubble. This is a west coast boarding school so people are more liberal and open to alternative teaching. They also emphasize outdoor learning. . .
Cate School Alumni #2
Class of 2018
5.00 8/28/2020
Claremont McKenna College
One aspect of Cate School that I think makes it unique is its campus. When I was doing my research for what kind of boarding school, I wanted to apply to, there were a few. . .
Cate School Alumni #3
Class of 2019
5.00 5/21/2020
Colgate University
Cate is one of the unique places you could ever imagine. High up on a mesa with an ocean view surrounded by hundreds of acres of avocado trees, a utopian little community exists and thrives. . .
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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Enrollment: 300 students
  • Yearly Tuition (Boarding Students): $74,975
  • Yearly Tuition (Day Students): $58,975
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Average class size: 10 students
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 15
  • Source: Verified school update